Iraq has rebutted a report that the bid deadline for its second oil licensing round has been delayed until January 2010 from the original December 2009 schedule.

According to a Bloomberg report on 13 October, the second bid round had been delayed from the original mid-December deadline. Bloomberg cited an emailed statement from the oil ministry.

However, a statement issued by the ministry’s Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate on 15 October says the bid date remains December 2009.

The ministry has invited 45 prequalified oil companies to a workshop in Istanbul for its second round on 18-19 October after issuing contract terms to oil majors in the first week of October (MEED 5:10:09).

It aims to reverse the disappointing results of the first bid round held in June, according to an international oil company executive close to the deal.

The directorate is offering licences covering 10 oil and gas fields which have yet to be developed.

The fields include the highly prized Majnoon field in Basra Province and West Qurna phase 2, which holds about six billion barrels of oil.

The remaining fields include Halfaya, East Baghdad, Gharraf, Qavara, Najmah, Badrah and Merjan/Kifl/West Kifl.

Iraq is also offering an Eastern Block comprising the Gilabat, Khashm al-Ahmr, Nau Doman and Qumar fields.